My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bears and Blue Blazes

We arrived after lunch to Standing Indian Campground just 031in time to set up our tent and go hiking with the group. We went to Laurel Falls,  Mooney Falls, the AT, and Pickens Nose. It was quite an adventure because we hiked along the AT before we found out that we were not on the trail to Pickens Nose. Along the way, Ron tried to find some geocaches but was unsuccessful at that.

056Right before it got dark, Don and Jean found fresh bear scat in front of their car. Then we found out that bears messed up the neighboring campsite because they left their coolers and food out. All this bear talk really creeped me out especially since we set up our tent near older bear scat in a mushy kind of field. There were only two tents in this field and one of them was ours. During the night a car alarm went off forever before stopping at 1:45am. Then at 2:30am, it went off again. I just knew the bears were back but it wasn’t our car alarm so I stayed in the tent. At 4am, it went off again but was shut off quickly. I finally left our tent around 5:30am when I saw that Jeff had gotten a huge fire going and I felt safe. Don apparently wasn’t worried because he slept soundly.

Around 9am, we started our hike to the summit of Standing Indian Mountain. Six of us started up the trail and hoped the others would catch up. After about 20 minutes, I realized that I had forgotten my camera and I was disgusted with myself! After about a mile, Bill said he was going to wait for the others and that we needed to just keep following the blue blazes along the trail so we kept going. We headed down the Park Creek Trail before turning on the Park Ridge Trail which led up the mountain. There was lots of evidence of fresh bear scat and disturbed areas where they hunted for food. At a clearing, Steve, Don, and Jean along  with us met another hiker whole told us that we couldn’t reach Standing Indian along these trails and that ALL of the trails were blue blazed! After waiting about 30 minutes for Bill and the rest of the group, we decided to do a loop back to the campground. After we started again, it began to rain so we decided to shorten the loop and head back to the campground sooner.

Steve was way ahead when he was attacked by bees. He dropped his hiking stick and ran back to us. After applying stingeeze on his stings, we headed back up the trail to get his stick. Right at his stick, he was stung again and we all ran back along the trail. We decided to ford the creeks rather than go through the bees but Don ran through them without being stung. Jean went around the trail and back up the steep bank. Steve, Don, and I chose the water route even though we got our boots and socks wet. Other than that adventure, nothing else happened the rest of the way back. We did stop along the water and ate some snacks which helped give us energy to get back to camp. We hiked about 7-8 miles so it was a good hiking day.

After a shower, we had an early dinner of tacos around 4pm and it tasted so good! Bill finally appeared and told us that he realized that we were on the wrong trail so the rest of them turned around and did another trail which took them to the top of Standing Indian (about 11-12 mile hike) so I’m really glad we did the trails that we were on. Even though we had a wonderful campfire, everyone was happy to turn in early. That night there were no car alarms or bear visits.

100 On Sunday morning, we took down our tents and packed up. Don moved the car where the sun hit it and we draped our tent and footprint on it so it could dry up. Then we headed up the road to Gatlinburg and a night in a hotel. After checking in Microtel on Historic Nature Trail ($39 for the night), we walked around Gatlinburg in the heat, crowds, and noise. How different this is from a night in the woods!


Fru-la-la! said...

Goodness gracious!!! What an adventure!! And camping near bears?! Girl, you are brave & awesome!

Beachcomber said...

Sounds like you all had an exciting camping and hiking adventure. A couple of years ago when we were camping a young bear broke into our friend's van. The bear came back the next night. The bear made a big ruckus knocking over their silverware tray both nights.